The following information provides you with some of the insights we share with the participants of the Natural Superheroes events.

08-THE-LEADER-1Type Eight – The Leader

Also known as: Boss, Asserter, Protector, Chief World View: I defend the weak and expose power abusers. Only the strong survive. Focus on: Being self-reliant and being in control Underlying Fear: If I am not in charge and in control I myself or other people will get hurt. Natural Virtues: Innocence, vulnerability Natural Coaching and Leadership Style: Taking charge and giving direction

Overview of Type Seven Enneagram Profile

As the natural leaders, the EIGHTS are big picture thinkers. Known for their charisma, magnetism, magnanimity, independence, leadership and strength, they relish challenges and live with a lust for life and pleasure. They can be the most assertive of types with people and very protective of the underdog or the more vulnerable people in their charge.

The qualities they themselves have are the qualities they look for and respect in others. Therefore, they prefer others to be open, forceful and direct in their communication. Anger is shown easily, and is over and done with quickly with no grudges being held. They have no problem opposing any authority they disagree with. Being in charge they are quite happy to make the rules are for other people to follow but rarely stick to the rules themselves. Excessive focus on controlling others and their environment can lead to unhealthy behaviours such as bullying, manipulation, violence, coercion which leads them to breaking the rules to get their own way.

There are many EIGHTS who never work for anyone else but themselves. If they do work for someone else, they try to make sure they are at the head of their particular division. When they feel in control, they are decisive, self- assertive, magnanimous, energising, direct, charismatic, and popular; and they may even display some of their vulnerable side. however, when they feel out of control or under someone else’s thumb they can becoming bullying, destructive, manipulative, and engage in a power battle. Compromise is a dirty word and they will stamp their agenda firmly on everyone’s mind. EIGHTS often deny any weakness or vulnerability in themselves. Healthier aspects of the personality evolve as they begin to accept their own vulnerability and express their gentler side, opening up and trusting others more.

Underlying Issues that arise for Eights

There is a core belief that only ‘strong’ people get what they want in life and the weak and vulnerable are despised and ignored. They feel they have to do whatever they can to hide their own vulnerability, become assertive and strong themselves, achieve control, and thus gain the respect of others

At their worst (when feelings of apathy, grief, fear, lust and anger arise) Self-centred, arrogant, destructive, insensitive, fault finding, demanding, unfeeling, domineering, bullying, ruthless, aggressive, vengeful, and explosive

At an average-healthy level (when feelings of pride arise and courage) Magnanimous, energetic, charismatic, truthful, strong, straight, supportive, charismatic, clear, confident, constructive, dynamic, decisive, direct, galvanising, and protective. At their very, very best (when they are feeling acceptance for what is and completely at peace) Service orientated, helpful, empathic, encouraging and accepting

Connected Types


These behavioural tendencies are highlighted through the enneagram diagram by the lines of integration (healthy behaviour) and disintegration (unhealthy behaviour). The arrows within the diagram below follow the direction of where the types move towards when they are feeling stressed.

Healthy – When relaxed and productive, EIGHTS take on some of the characteristics of TWOS (Carers)
Unhealthy – When stressed, EIGHTS take on some of the characteristics of FIVES (Genius)

Enneagram Type Eights in Relationships

With a core motivation that drives the desire to be in control and have personal freedom and autonomy, eights can appear very confident, charismatic and strong, and at a healthy level this is true. What you see is what you get. Being strong and assertive in a relationship is good to a point; without being aware of it the eight can be excessively forceful and this can create problems. Eights appreciate others who are equally strong and can match their energy. They have a lust for life and can engage in excessive entertainment, binges, sex, alcohol. They just want more and more of what feels great. The desire to be in control and the fear of being controlled translates into wanting to control others, a refusal to be denied anything by anyone. Acknowledging their vulnerability and expression of feelings can seem threatening because of the fear of being opened up to manipulation and control. Wary of emotional dependency, they are very independent in relationships. Their style of relating is often confrontational as a way of testing other’s limits. They want to know if you are fair, just and if you can stand up for yourself.

At their very best they will offer a tremendous amount of love, support and protection for loved ones and will sacrifice a great deal for family.

Eights at Work

When strength, vision, justice and leadership are required, eights are the ideal type to take charge. There are some eights who never work for anyone else but themselves. If they do work for someone else, they will try to make sure that they are at the head of their particular division. As such, eights are drawn towards leadership in a team and do well in proposing powerful visions for themselves and the organisation. When they feel in control, they are decisive, self- assertive, magnanimous, energising, direct, charismatic, and popular; and they may even display some of their vulnerable side; however, when they feel out of control or under someone else’s thumb they can turn bully, destructive, manipulative, and engage in a power battle. Compromise is a dirty word and they will stamp their agenda firmly in everyone’s mind. Eights like to know exactly where they stand with everyone and hate being deceived or manipulated. They despise those who cannot stand up for themselves or who cannot forcefully communicate their position. They have a black or white attitude to what’s fair and just, and there is little room for any middle ground.

A strong uncompromising focus on perceived justice or injustice allows for firm decision making and action in the service of those in their charge; however it also perpetuates a denial of the eight’s own weaknesses and a disrespect of alternative points of view.

The Leadership style of Eights

At their best Eights with their huge self confidence can assert themselves and rally an organisation together and achieve the impossible.

They are natural leaders who can work under great pressure and are not afraid of making tough decisions, but they will consider the impact of these decisions on others. People are handled firmly but fairly and persuasively, and they will protect the underdog in a conflict between members of the team. At the unhealthy level, control is everything. The Eight can be very aggressive, intimidating, dictatorial, and bullying. Things have to be done their way, or else. They have no time for negotiation or consensus building, and they hold fast to their position.

Time Management Strategies for Eights

Rarely will you find an eight attending a time management course because out of all the types they are the least likely to consistently follow basic time management rules and apply routine principles.

Beginning with the end in mind is a skill which comes naturally to the eight much like the type three. However, the realisation of that vision only happens when they delegate tasks effectively and with the consideration of the people they are working with. Dictating rather than delegating is a trap which they can easily fall into.

Therefore, careful planning of exactly what can be delegated and to whom will mean people in the organisation feel cared for making success is more likely.

Enneagram Type Eights as Coaches

The healthy eight in living two probably make the very best coaches of all. However, they walk a fine line between being of service and controlling people’s actions and experiences.

Sometime their lack of patience can put the coachee under unnecessary pressure the consequences of which is a further downturn in performance.

Because most eights don’t appreciate that people are ‘wired’ differently and have different motivational drives they can sometimes encourage people to use force instead of power to achieve results. This can lead to exhaustion, diminished self-confidence and in extreme cases complete breakdown of the coachee.

Eights in Sport

The strong desires to be leaders in their respective field of sport leads eights to often take managerial roles or apply themselves to sports which give them the greatest degrees of control such as boxing.

Issues of control lead to unnecessary tension within the body which limits their performance and results in them using force instead of power to win.

Being so internally referenced, eight are averse to being ‘told’ what to do. When they allow themselves to acknowledge their vulnerability they develop a more external frame of reference and take on board other people’s advice and experience and can apply it.

Suggestions for the personal development of an Enneagram Type Eight

Start to notice:
  • How exactly has your need to control impacted your life and others?
  • Who would you be if you had no control over anyone or anything?
  • What impact does it have on you to have to prove yourself to others?
  • What impact does your forceful energy impact others?
  • What do you do to provoke confrontation with others?
  • What happens that causes others to withdraw from you?
  • When have you been excessively invasive or controlling?
What you can do and ask of yourself:
  • Allow yourself to notice when you are acting on impulse as opposed to a conscious response
  • Could you allow yourself to be more sensitive to others’ opinions?
  • Could you allow yourself to notice your own vulnerability?
  • Use the emotion of anger to remind yourself to step back and appropriately let go of the need to control
  • Learn to hold back on the impulse to break the rules just for the hell of it
  • Learn to hold back on the tendency to blame others
  • Learn to express your appreciation of others frequently.

Famous ‘eights’
with a ‘seven’ wing

Business/Political Leaders

  • Anthony Robbins
  • Donald Trump
  • Ali al-Naimi (Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia)
  • Silvio Berlusconi
  • George Galloway

Sports People

  • Mike Tyson
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Zinedine Zidane
  • Diego Maradona
  • Martina Navratilova
  • Max Mosely


  • Sean Connery
  • Queen Latifa
  • Richard Burton
  • Russell Crowe
  • George Peppard
  • Richard Burton

Historical Figures

  • Saddam Hussain
  • King Henry VIII

Famous ‘eights’
with a ‘nine’ wing

Current Business/Political Leaders

  • Saddam Hussain


  • Lennox Lewis


  • Marlon Brando
  • Robert De Niro
  • Samuel L Jackson
  • James Earl Jones
  • Charlton Heston
  • Laurence Fishburne
  • Telly Savalas
  • Larry Hagman